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Associated Press

Thank goodness we remembered to TiVo 2005. If it wasn’t stored in our mental hard drive, we wouldn’t have believed what went on in La-La Land this year.

To think we thought Brad and Jen were the ideal couple. That Tom Cruise was normal. That Nick and Jessica and were in it for love, not publicity. And that Michael Jackson might have been guilty.

This year opened our eyes all right, although we probably wished we had kept them shut:

Brad the Cad: Maybe he thought they were on a break. That’s the only good explanation Brad Pitt could have for breaking poor Jennifer Aniston’s heart by hooking up with his “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” vixen, Angelina Jolie.

While Brad’s perfect rep was blemished by the affair, it was hard to hate on Angelina – her adopting half the third world and all. Why didn’t Elizabeth Taylor think of this tactic when she stole Eddie Fisher from Debbie Reynolds?

Now on DVD: Just when they were getting to be one of Hollywood’s veteran couples with three years’ tenure, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey called it quits – appropriately enough, a few hours before Turkey Day.

But “Newlyweds” was so over anyway. “Nick and Jessica: Divorce Court” will be much more fun (especially when Jessica’s lawyer needs to explain that annoying legal term: A-L-I-M-O-N-Y).

Cruise Woos Katie: Even the “midlife crisis” excuse can’t explain Cruise’s eye-popping behavior: his couch-jumping “Oprah” antics; the proclamation of love for cutie Katie Holmes and ensuing engagement after two minutes of dating; their suck-face appearances on red carpets; his tangling with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show.

Next time, instead of jumping on a couch, Cruise should consider lying on one.

Feud of the Year, Part I: Hell hath no fury like a postpartum mom questioned about her right to self-medicate. And Cruise (already on shaky ground after the whole couch thing) drew Brooke Shields’ ire when he chastised her for taking pills to deal with debilitating depression following the birth of her first child.

For the pregnant Holmes’ sake, let’s hope her delirium over Cruise is strong enough to last through shrieking cries, 2 a.m. feedings, diaper emergencies and the terrible twos.

Feud of the Year, Part II: Though the rap world has plenty of felons, apparently G-Unit’s clique is only big enough for one bullet-scarred gangsta rapper: 50 Cent knocked the Game from his crew after Game had the audacity to express an opinion other than 50’s.

Scuffles and gunshots followed before the two publicly made up. Unfortunately for Game, beef only boosts 50’s career – not the guy’s on the other end.

They Liked Mike: For those who doubt the magic of Michael Jackson: Over the course of his child molestation trial, he showed up to court in pajamas, got caught with a mountain of porn, his defense witnesses admitted to childhood sleepovers with an adult Jackson – and he was still acquitted. The outcome might have been drastically different had he had shown up to court in tighty-whiteys.

Groove Over: Oh, no, you didn’t! “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” author Terry McMillan almost snapped her neck while unleashing a head-shaking, eye-rolling fury after finding out the boy-toy husband that she met on a Jamaican vacation was secretly gay. She took him to court to make sure the pre-nup was enforced. Let’s hope she remembers all this when she vacations on Fire Island next year.

Yo, Son, Peep the Jail Remix: Lil’ Kim, Beanie Sigel and Cassidy were among the high-profile rappers who were behind bars as their albums were released. Don’t they know that you can’t do Patron-and-Porsche videos from a cellblock?

Party Crasher of the Year: Suge Knight wasn’t on the invite list for Kanye West’s pre-MTV Awards bash, and after what happened, we know why: Knight cleared the party when a gunshot pierced his leg (some say it was from his own weapon).

Come to think of it, wasn’t Suge Knight at last year’s chair-throwing Vibe awards? And wasn’t he in the same car when Tupac was killed? Are we sure he wasn’t at the grassy knoll in Dallas?

Co-dependency: Now we know why Nick and Jessica didn’t last: They were sober.

The reality show “Being Bobby Brown” gave us a distasteful yet riveting look at Brown’s 13-year marriage to Whitney Houston. “Crack is Wack” Whitney looked more jittery than M.J. on trial and acted so bizarrely we actually had sympathy for Brown for putting up with her.

Falsest Rumor of the Year: Just when we were eagerly awaiting that tender mother-daughter reunion on “Oprah,” Janet Jackson shot down a claim that she secretly had a daughter some 20 years ago.

Truest Rumor of the Year: Given that most top models are basically required to have a gaunt frame and glazed eyes, maybe Kate Moss was just getting ready for work when she was caught snorting coke by a British tabloid.

This Video Is Not Evidence: Since it seems he’ll never go to trial on those pesky child porn charges, R. Kelly had plenty of time to craft the year’s wackiest, best video: “Trapped in the Closet, Parts 1-5” (which soon became Parts 6-12, with another 10 apparently on the way).

In the soap-opera of a song, we’re treated to cheating spouses, down-low husbands, an ex-con named ‘Twon and a well-endowed midget. Even “Laguna Beach” couldn’t compete with all that action.

Boys to Men: Britney Spears grew up this year with the birth of her son, Sean. Now if only her hubby would do the same. Kevin Federline is still smoking around poor Brit.

As far as that fledgling rap career, given the frightful track leaked on the Internet, K-Fed shouldn’t give up his day job. Wait – he doesn’t have one.

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